Guest Post: Scouting Report on Jeff Hoffman

Two guest posts in one day?  This is my version of a day off though I'm still following along in the comments sections from time to time.

This time the poster is Kevin Gallo, a guy with whom most of you are familiar because of his contributions here.  You can also check out his work at Big League Futures, where he is the Director of Scouting.

The Cubs will once again have a top draft pick and they're at an interesting spot at #4.  One could argue that there is a set top 4 in college stars LHP Carlos Rodon, SS Trea Turner,  RHPs Jeff Hoffman and prep flame thrower RHP Tyler Kolek.  But the Cubs prefer college players when possible this early in the draft, so it's not a slam dunk they'd take Kolek if the other 3 are taken. College pitchers  Tyler Beede and Luke Weaver loom as potential risers.

Today we have a scouting report on one of those top 4 candidates: East Carolina RHP Jeff Hoffman, who is rising fast -- so fast that there is now some doubt as to whether he'll even be available.  If he is, we know the Cubs will be interested and will take a long hard look, especially given the dearth of potential frontline starters not just in the Cubs organization, but in all of baseball.

Jeff Hoffman Scouting Report

By Kevin Gallo

Pitcher name: Jeff Hoffman

HT: 6’4

WT: 194lbs

Position: RHP

Draft status: East Carolina University Junior

B/T: R/R

Physical: Hoffman has a tall thin frame with room to add muscle. He has long limbs, rounded shoulders and a board chest. It’s as prefect a pitcher’s body you can get.

Mechanics: Starts on the 1B side of the rubber with his hands starting at his chest. He has a slight step to the side instead of straight back but it is very controlled. He keeps is hands at his chest before he breaks his hands after a high leg kick. He shows very good balance at this point and goes into a drop and drive delivery. He pitches from a true to low ¾ arm slot. Shows a solid landing with his lead leg but falls to his glove side. He shows very good repeatability in his delivery.

Fastball: Has a plus FB that sits in the mid-90s with excellent tailing action.

Secondary Pitches: Hoffman has an above average to plus Curveball closer to plus. CB sits around 80mph with a 1 to 7 hard biting break. He looks to be an out pitch at the Major League Level.

Change up: His Changeup is average but doesn’t use it very much. It sits in the high 80s but shows good tailing and arm action. I have been told his Changeup has improved but I can only go off what I have seen.

Command: He works good command of his FB and CB but didn’t see enough of his CU to get an idea of it.

Summary: Hoffman as show the tools to be the #1 pick in next year’s draft but Rondon is going to be difficult to overtake. He also has room to gain muscle and develop. He has the pieces to be a pure #1 and if his changeup has improved he could become an elite pitcher.

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  • The last line sounds like Gray to me. If they both work on their CU's then the ceiling is elite. With another year of work you think that the secondary stuff gets better, sharper command with a few more ticks on the FB. Can't wait to see the box scores of him et. al. in the Spring.

    Love these articles and the great work that goes into them. Thanks!

  • In reply to Buzz:

    Hoffman already has better command the Gray did. Hoffman is more of a pure pitcher than Gray was.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Kevin, sounds similiar to one Mark Prior, a drop-and drive 2 pitch power pitcher with a projectable pitchers frame and room to grow. Any other similarities?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    That could be a good comp.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    Keep in mind though that very few hard throwing college pitchers need to work on their change-ups simply because they don't need them in high school, college, or the lowest levels of the minors. Mark Appel was an exception.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    For sure. I remember either a coach or scout commenting on Strasburg's CU and how he never used it in college. They basically said that it using it would do more harm than good - since hardly anybody in college could catch up with his FB - throwing a CU would only allow hitters to get a pitch to drive. Fast forward 3 year and somewhere (fangraphs?) I read an article that his CU saw the most swings and misses in MLB.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    That's true in many cases. Although I didn't want to be responsible for ruining any young arms, so I have always taught the change up before the curve. I stressed to my young pitchers that control and changing speeds was more important than velocity. As the kids got older, I led an elite travel squad and the professional pitching coach I worked with had much the same philosophy due to a career ending injury when he was in AAA.

    One of my best pitchers played in a wood bat summer league after his freshman year of college. The coach "taught" him a slider and the first time he went to throw it in a game, he felt something pop, and required TJ surgery. He is now a senior and scouts say his slider is "plus plus" and "killer" as one scout put it. I just hope he stay healthy.

  • Great!! Do pitchers at his age and tools get a few more ticks on their FB?

  • In reply to Buzz:

    He looks a little lanky. Should be some room to fill out and gain strength. Could translate to a couple more ticks.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    More then likely no with the weight gain normally give a little more ability to maintain that velo.

  • Its pretty much set Rodon is going #1 and Trea Turner goes in the top 3 right?

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Rodon will go #1 barring an injury. I don't think anyone can catch up to him.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Rondon there is little change anyone pass him up. As for Turner that a crap shoot he could go as high as 2 or as low as 5. It really depends on the teams drafting.

  • This is hopefully the last year we can really forecast who the Cubs will be picking because we won't know who will be there further down in the draft.

  • Nice piece, KG. I'd be stoked with Hoffman, especially since he's at my alma mater! My parents went to NC State and I grew up in Raleigh rooting for the Pack so its really awesome to see all this NC flavor at the top of the draft. Hopefully Rodon and Hoffman can pitch against each other this spring even though its unlikely since these two teams usually meet mid week instead of a weekend set.

    I remember Mark Appel being the consensus (or close to it) #1 around this time of year leading up to the 2012 draft. A whole lot can happen between now and June. I don't think its out of the realm of possibility that Rodon's there at 4. I talked to a scout I know from back home and he personally likes Hoffman better. A big season from Hoffman and a mediocre one form Rodon or perhaps an injury and/or signability concerns and we have another Manea. I really like Trea Turner too but I'll be disappointed if he ends up being the guy.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I can't see Turner getting past the White Sox.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    It possible they draft Kolek or Hoffman and add a RHP sidekick to Chris Sale.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ike03:

    Anything is possible with the Sox. You're talking about a team that once drafted the GM's daughter ahead of 14 future major leaguers.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Thank you.

  • Lets not forget that if a top hitter is available, even at a position
    where we are strong at, we have to consider him.

  • If Tyler Beede improves his command/control this year he could easily be the 2nd pitcher taken. He has 3 plus pitches and a connection to D.J.

    Also the wild cards are the 3 elite prep players: Alex Jackson, Jacob Gatewood, and lastly the one who I think will climb the boards and could end up being the BEST PLAYER IN THE WHOLE DRAFT, - Michael Gettys. He could be a franchise type player, 6'2", 200 lbs, lightning speed, throws 100mph from the outfield,etc etc.

    If Beede finds his command I'm hoping for him at #4. I'd take Kolek next as he looks like a beast, otherwise I'd rather have Gettys or A. Jackson.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I agree with you on Beede but he needs to find that release point.

    As for the HS players I have Getty as the top HS position player. I have already give John a Scouting report on Alex Jackson.

  • Thanks for sharing this KG. Assuming he performs as expected in 2014, how far away is Hoffman from contributing at the MLB level?

    Obviously Manaea took a dive from this point last year to actual draft spot. Do you recall where Bryant & Gray were at this point last year? Seemed like last year it was Appel and then Manaea & Stanek, so it's not inconceivable that 1 or 2 from the mid-late 1st round projections now rise up to top 4 is it?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Hoffman I cant say that until Spring. I need to see his Change up to make a determination.

    Do you what me give where I had them or the general consensus on where they were?

    I had Bryant #5 and had Gray #21. I have 2 pitchers that I think could make a big rise in the rankings. They are Luke Weaver and Sean Newcomb. I am so confident in Weaver I gave him ranked at #4. Which is about 15 spots lower the anyone else right now. Then again I had Bryant around the same.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    that's what I wondering. I remember discussing Bryant with you throughout the spring & summer.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Long way to go. Especially when agents start making pre-draft phone calls about commitments and money. All it takes is an agent saying, "My guy won't sign with you for anything less than X amount" to really change the landscape at the top of the draft. Any time you have a consensus top pick this early on that top pick usually gets pricier. If Rodon makes all the way there I think he's going to be at or over slot. I'm interested to know which strategy Houston will use, 2012 or 2013.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Exactly, if I remember correctly the Twins passed on Prior because of price. I think Rodon is far from a lock at this point especially because we have seen the Astros go the cheaper route as recently as the 2012 draft.

    That being's hard enough to try and play front office for the Cubs (most people thought we were taking a pitcher up until Bryant's name was called) let alone to try and guess what the three teams in front of them will do.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    I got the top 3 right on the nose last year.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    That's fine, a lot of people got it right, every dog has it's day and every garbage can gets a steak.

    But did you get it right the November before the draft? It gets much easier to do the first week of June.

  • I think the Marlins will go with Truner because Adeiny Hechavarria isn't the long-term answer at short. (Yes, I did lookup how to spell his name.) They need middle infielder prospects and a rightfielder.

    The sox probably go with a high school prospect like Kolek, Gatewood, or Gettys and try to save some money.

  • In reply to ucandoit:

    I think your right. I think the Marlins go Turner right now that could change.

  • In reply to ucandoit:

    You spelled Adeiny Hechavarria correctly but misspelled Turner.

  • Since we also draft high in the 2nd round could take a pitcher
    there if we draft a hitter in the 1st round.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Everything could change by draft day so I won't worry about round 2 just yet.

  • Kevin,

    Great Article !

    Is there another position player outside of SS T. Turner that has a shot as a Top 5 pick ?

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    I think Gettys has a shot.

  • For those curious, Baseball America published an article of their top-50 draft prospects (early list):

    Interesting that they have Rodon and Hoffman as very similar in terms of stuff, but the difference being that his K/9 isn't that of Rodon's.

    If Hoffman (#2) falls to the Cubs at 4, I'll be pretty satisfied.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Then you will like this mock draft:

  • In reply to John57:

    Mocks are a dime a dozen. Most of them (especially this early) turn out to be way off.

    For all we know, maybe Rodon falls to us ... alright, maybe not .... but I'll be praying.

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